Taipei’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been one of many world’s only. The island of 23 million individuals final reported a regionally transmitted case on April 12, which was Easter Sunday. As of Thursday, it had confirmed 553 circumstances — solely 55 of which have been native transmissions. Seven deaths have been recorded.
Taiwan has by no means needed to enact strict lockdowns. Nor did it resort to drastic restrictions on civil freedoms, like in mainland China.
Taiwan confirmed its first reported case of the novel coronavirus on January 21 after which banned Wuhan residents from touring to the island. All passengers arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao have been required to endure screening.
All this occurred earlier than Wuhan itself went into lockdown on January 23. By March, Taiwan banned all overseas nationals from coming into the island, other than diplomats, residents and people with particular entry visas.
However Taiwan has benefits its counterparts within the West don’t.
One is geography — Taiwan is an island, so it is simpler for officers to regulate entry and exit by way of its borders.
Taiwan additionally had expertise on its facet. After struggling by way of the lethal outbreak of extreme acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, Taiwan labored to construct up its capability to take care of a pandemic, Taiwanese Overseas Minister Joseph Wu mentioned in an interview final month.
“So, after we heard that there have been some secret pneumonia circumstances in China the place sufferers have been handled in isolation, we knew it was one thing comparable,” he mentioned.
Authorities activated the island’s Central Epidemic Command Heart, which was arrange within the wake of SARS, to coordinate between totally different ministries. The federal government additionally ramped up face masks and protecting tools manufacturing to ensure there can be a gradual provide of PPE.
Former Taiwanese Vice President Chen Chien-jen, who’s an epidemiologist by coaching, mentioned lockdowns aren’t preferrred. Chen additionally mentioned that the kind of mass-testing schemes undertaken in mainland China, the place tens of millions of persons are screened when a handful of circumstances are detected, are additionally pointless.
“Very cautious contact tracing, and really stringent quarantines of shut contacts are the easiest way to comprise Covid-19,” he mentioned.
CNN’s Paula Hancocks, James Griffiths and Meenketan Jha contributed to this report.